Thursday, December 03, 2009

Delta IV Rocket Unveiled At Pad; Launch Tonight

A Delta IV rocket was unveiled at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station this morning as United Launch Alliance geared up for the planned launch tonight of a military communications satellite.

The Delta IV Medium rocket and its payload -- a Widefield Global SATCOM spacecraft -- are slated to blast off from Launch Complex 37 at 7:22 p.m. The launch window will extend through 8:43 p.m.

The launch had been slated for 7:21 p.m. Wednesday, but late Tuesday, managers pushed it back 24 hours as a result of an approaching storm swept through central Florida late last night and early today.

The forecast calls for a 60 percent chance conditions will be acceptable for flight tonight. The primary concerns are the chance of rains showers and thick, electrically charged clouds that could cause the rocket to trigger destructive bolts of lightning in flight.

The mobile service tower at complex 37 now has been retracted away from the Delta IV. The move began a little after 7 a.m. and was completed about 8:15 a.m. The launch countdown will pick up early this afternoon.

ABOUT THE IMAGE: Click to enlarge the United Launch Alliance image of a Delta IV Medium rocket at Launch Complex 37 after the mobile service tower was backed away from the vehicle early today. Nestled in its nosecone the Air Force’s Wideband Global SATCOM-3 (WGS-3) satellite. The WGS-3 mission is set to launch at 7:22 p.m. EST with its launch window stretching until 8:43 p.m. The WGS-3 mission is the third installment of the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system. The WGS satellites are important elements of a new high-capacity satellite communications system providing enhanced communications capabilities to America ’s troops in the field for the next decade and beyond. (Photo by Pat Corkery, United Launch Alliance )

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wish there was a website of all spacecraft launches. All I need is the time of launch and its trajectory to watch them live from the New England coast. There always are hundreds of launch articles and not one mentions its launch trajectory.